‘New Faces Show’ Gets New Guidelines

The talent lineup for the annual New Faces Show at this year’s Country Radio Seminar, held in Nashville in March, prompted howls of protest and a counter-programmed concert.

Now, the Country Radio Broadcasters have announced new criteria for artists trying to qualify for the show and a new method for selecting the show’s lineup.

When this year’s bill was announced, some felt that the selection committee of industry professionals had chosen poorly, leaving out up-and-coming acts such as Jamie O’Neal , Rascal Flatts and Darryl Worley . Sara Evans , an artist on her third album, joined Chris Cagle , the Clark Family Experience , Trick Pony and Phil Vassar on the bill.

A “Class of 2000” concert featuring O’Neal, Rascal Flatts and Worley was organized and scheduled opposite the CRB-sanctioned New Faces presentation. As a compromise, the Class of 2000 show ended up following the New Faces show.

The CRB’s Board of Directors on Monday announced new procedures for arriving at the New Faces roster. New qualifying criteria include the following:

• The qualification period is Nov. 1-Oct. 31 preceding the New Faces Show.

• Acts must not have appeared on the show before, though a solo act who joins a group or a group member who goes solo would be eligible.

• Acts must have at least one Top 25 single on one of the major trade charts during the qualifying period.

• Acts may not have had more than two albums in the Top 50 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart by the end of the qualifying period.

Acts will be selected this way:

• Acts will be ranked based on radio airplay during the qualifying period.

• Acts must commit to performing should they be selected.

• Radio staffers registered for the conference will vote for five acts via e-mail.

• An accounting firm will count the votes, and the CRB will ratify the results.

• Next year’s slate will be announced Dec. 14.